Coming off of its winter break, the Cheney wrestling team took third place out of 15 teams at the Cheney Invitational Saturday, Jan. 5 at Cheney High School.
Overall, six wrestlers placed at the event, marking one of the more successful performances of the team thus far in the season.
Head coach Wade Schlotter said the team wrestled well on their own turf, with 22 Blackhawks taking part in the tournament.
“One of the things I really like about hosting our own tourney is being able to get a lot of our kids experience in a varsity tournament,” he said in an email.
Eli Mason took first place at the 182-pound class, defeating opponents from East Valley, Lakeside and Freeman along the way. He won in a 4-3 decision against East Valley’s Kenny Martinez.
“Mason looked very impressive. He had four first period pins, over John McCormick (Sandpoint), Tanner Read (Lakeland), Markus Goldbach (Freeman), and a 32 second pin in the championship against Kenny Martinez of East Valley,” Schlotter said.
Aside from Mason, five others placed at the tournament, making it one of Cheney’s strongest showings yet. Schlotter had praise for Josh Wessels (160), who displayed strong endurance throughout his matches on his way to a second-place finish.
“Besides Eli Mason, I thought Josh Wessels really wrestled well. In his second round match against Caleb Riggle (Omak) he had to wrestle a complete match and come from behind to win 11-10,” he said.
Schlotter was also impressed with the resilience of Vern Sanderson (145) at the tournament.
“He lost his first match to the eventual champion but was able to win his next four matches to place fifth. Vern showed a lot of character coming back after his first match,” he said.
Cheney squared off against Deer Park Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Cheney High School. Results were not available at press time, and will be included in next week’s edition. The team also travels to Pullman High School today for a match at 7 p.m.
“Deer Park is one of the top teams in the state. We will try to match up with them as well as we can,” Schlotter said.
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.